Oh my goodness, March was such a busy month for me! Loads of events, eating out, cooking and a little travel.
I started the month with a weekend trip to the Goulburn Valley, visiting some of the towns up north along the Hume Highway. (Disclosure: it was a complimentary media trip to promote the region, which I'll be blogging shortly). When we drove through Shepparton, I just had to stop and take this photo:
We celebrated my parents' thirty-fifth wedding anniversary, with dinner at Ezard. The food was excellent, as usual, but the service was a little mechanical - apart from one fabulous waitress who was lovely, we really felt like the waitstaff were just phoning it in.
|Cocktails and the famous caramelized pork hock - so good!|
|Ezard's Dessert Platter|
Other eats of note with my parents this month were a lunch at Kenzan, whose sushi and sashimi platter I always love...
|Kenzan's Sushi and Sashimi Assortment - $90|
Tea was charged at a minimum of $5 per person, and their small, individual "sandwiches" (crispy Guangxi pork slider, cumin lamb or white-cut chicken steamed bun) were priced at $9 each - an easy way of adding at least $56 to a meal without getting too much value in return. I know the waitstaff were only trying to help when they said, "these sandwiches are served individually; would you like to order four?", but I couldn't help but feel like I was being upsold. (Needless to say, we didn't order any tea or sandwiches).
|Selection of Dishes at Spice Temple Yum Cha|
Their egg tarts were priced at $8 each. Each! I must admit the egg tart I ordered was fabulous, with light and flaky pastry and a just-set warm egg custard, but still, it was certainly not $8 worth of fabulousness. Perhaps if they'd done two mini-egg tarts, the price would have been justified, because at least you could have shared it!
|$8 Egg Tart at Spice Temple|
There were some good points to the yum cha, and my parents and I are glad we tried it, but I am absolutely sticking to their equally delicious and much better value dinners from now on. On both my previous visits to Spice Temple, we spent a similar amount (including cocktails), and left much more satisfied!
And speaking of parents, this month we also got a care package from Sandra's parents in Germany! Woot-woot!
my previous post.)
I visited a lot of great cafes this month:
Pure Italian in North Balwyn for fab antipasti, rich coffee and interesting pasta dishes that were delicious, but a little heavy on the olive oil.
|Pure Italian, North Balwyn|
|Three Bags Full, Richmond|
|Kinfolk, Bourke Street|
I also played tour guide one day to the lovely Kate and Rob, who were visiting from Brunei. They had one day in Melbourne before embarking on their campervan adventure, and I just had to take them to St Ali for a taste of Melbourne inner-city converted-warehouse caffeinated goodness! They loved the burgers, and I think they quite liked the warehousey vibe, and the fact that the cafe is "hidden" down a laneway with little signage!
|St Ali, South Melbourne|
It seems like winter has started to creep in, but I made the most of one of the last hot days of the year with a little drive to Chelsea beach. It was so peaceful and gorgeous, and the water was so clear!
Another highlight of the day was stopping off in Springvale for pho and iced coffee at Pho Hoang. (Thanks to @honeycrackle for the recommendation!)
|Pho at Pho Hoang, Springvale|
Later that night, we went out for drinks and dumplings with Adrian and Chris! This started with a yummy pitcher of an apple cocktail and some sausage rolls on the balcony at Madame Brussels. I'd only ever been to Madame Brussels on Saturday nights before, when it's super-crowded, and was pleasantly surprised at how pleasant the atmosphere was on a sunny weeknight.
|Dumplings at China Red|
|Tom Turtle ice-cream cubes: only for picture, not for customers|
|$3 cube of guava ice-cream|
|$16.50 dessert plate|
|Dinner at Hu Tong|
Less excellent though, was the Haunted Melbourne Ghost Tour we took straight afterwards! It was a walking tour of apparently haunted sites throughout the CBD, which sounded like it could be interesting! Unfortunately though, it was really bad - they let almost one hundred people on the tour and we couldn't hear the tour guide at all. What a waste of $20! Oh well, at least we worked off those dumplings with all the walking!
The evening was saved with awesome drinks at The Kodiak Club on Brunswick street. It's an American-style neighbourhood bar, with great cocktails and fab bar snacks. They serve real tortilla chips, all hot and salty, and super-addictive hot Buffalo wings!
|Tortilla Chips and Buffalo Wings at The Kodiac Club|
|Desserts at Yong Green Food. Clockwise from left: Pecan pie; lemon raw cheesecake; green tea ganache|
In complete contrast to those vegetarian, raw and macrobiotic delights was the dinner we cooked for Kate and Rob when they returned to Melbourne after their campervan trip. I wanted to make them something they couldn't get in Brunei, and did a trad English roast dinner: rack of pork with crackling followed by classic sticky date pudding.
|Rack of Pork|
So that was my March! April will hopefully be a little quieter - I need a rest after all that eating and cooking!